Life got complicated last few months and I've been away.
Split the Sheets with my wife of 20 years, and that has been a distraction from the real important stuff like elk hunting. I went to th Valle Vidal in August for 4 days to scout.
While I was there I met a local Outfitter who offered me a discounted rate for the use of his stock if I did my own camp. So I set up at the end of the road and rode in with him each morning for 3 days. It simplified my life not having to haul my own stock.
First Day we saw 7 bulls. Had a 6 point in my crosshairs that would have been dead in Wyoming, as well as his 5 point buddy in the evening. Next day we had a lot of close calls, and a rag horn bedded 50 yards from us before the thermals made him nervously trot off. That night at last light, I rushed a shot and missed a big 6 point right on the edge of some private. I was extremely mad at myself, and completely wiped out on the 8 mile ride back over the mountain to camp under the full moon.
The next morning we played cat and mouse with a bull coming up the draw. After so many encounters with bulls, and the miss the night before, and the Day 3 of a 5 day season hanging over me, and the soreness and sleep deprivation telling me to get it over with...I pulled the trigger as he stood on the open hillside 150 yards away and bugled like a dunghill rooster.
It wasn't the bull I'd been dreaming of putting my once in a lifetime tag on. I'd passed on a bigger bull and missed a bigger one as well. But I had a clean shot and one round through the shoulder quartering to had him down just inside the trees. He took out some standing dead trees in the process of dyin' too.
For three days we had been pulling pack horses in case we connected and I was grateful we could ride to the carcass, and pack him out that morning.
I loved the country and I can't wait to get my family to draw the tag so we can go back. Northern New Mexico is magical. I may just go back to ride in the summer.
This is elk #10 and State #4 of my 11 state Elk Quest. (OR-1, WY-7, CA-1, NM-1)
Back home, he is one of the tastiest elk I've ever killed. I had the hams made into roasts and they have been fall apart delicious.